Thank you, my dogs Print E-mail
News - Rubrieke
Tuesday, 10 December 2019 08:02
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Dr Liesel van der Merwe is a small animal medicine specialist. Send her your questions: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dr Liesel van der Merwe

As this year draws to a close I look back on the ups and downs and consider what helped me through the difficult times. Without a doubt I can say that my pets have pulled me through the low periods.

Their unwavering loyalty, their big grinning, tongue-lolling smiles, their sitting close and leaning onto me when we have coffee on the step. No words are needed. The security they provide in my everyday life – just knowing they are around you and with you and always alert.

You’ll never sleep alone

Pets can really be wonderful companions. Gemma, sadly no longer with me, just loved a road trip. I could take her anywhere without a lead and she just pottered along; cocky, but always looking back to check where I was and never getting lost.

She loved watching the world go by from the front seat and had an uncanny knack of seeming to know where we were. My parents stay out in the countryside and at a certain point on the dirt road Gemma wanted out to run alongside the car. The same spot every time. 


Even when she was old and deaf and started to go a bit senile, she somehow knew when I was home and came toddling around the corner of the house as I drove up the driveway. She was with me for 16 years. There is a large empty space on the passenger seat.

Gemma in the car

The dogs are also dedicated running partners; a little too dedicated. They cause such a commotion – as I can only usually take two and all want to go – that I have once even tried sneaking out by putting running togs on under my normal clothes and throwing my shoes over the wall. They did not fall for that.

Of course I can fit

Lie-ins on the weekend are also a favourite, especially in winter or if it’s raining. And all scraps will be forgiven just so that we can all squeeze onto the bed. Then there is also the cushion contest. Once exposed to a cushion, no dog’s behind shall then ever again lie directly on the tiles. The jockeying for position when there are fewer cushions than dogs can draw comparisons with the strategy and art of war.


My dogs are not my children – they are my dogs and as such they provide a definite depth and joy to my life. Their ways and personalities are distinct and they each have their own special attributes. 

All together now . . .

This Christmas I want to say thank you for my wonderful canine companions: Daisy, Honey, Skinners, Wingnut and Charley and also Gemma, BigBoy, Bosal, Boelie and Skritty. It’s a bit cheesy I know, but it’s from the heart. Look at what you gain from your pets on an emotional level and be grateful.

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